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Bloomberg: Samsung to release flip-phone-style foldable early next year

What took you so long, Samsung?

Published onSeptember 3, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Fold small screen top half

Samsung is still yet to release the Galaxy Fold, but the company is working in parallel on a new foldable that could be just a few months away.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that the new device will fold into a square, much like a flip-phone from the 2000s. The device is set to launch “early next year,” though the sources said Samsung may adjust its schedule depending on the reception the Galaxy Fold gets.

Sources told Bloomberg that Samsung is aiming to make the new foldable cheaper than the Galaxy Fold, which costs more than $2,000. Regardless, don’t expect it to be broadly affordable, as Samsung is reportedly targeting customers interested in “fashion, status and luxury.” The manufacturer is said to be working with American designer Thom Browne to appeal to this style-conscious demographic.

The new foldable device will have a 6.7-inch inner display, roughly the same size as the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It will fold in half, which will supposedly make it easier to pocket compared to conventional smartphones. A punch hole camera will be embedded in the screen, while the rear will house two cameras, Bloomberg reported. It’s not clear whether the device will have a single screen or an additional one on the outside as well.

The new device would have a massive advantage over the Galaxy Fold – familiarity.

Samsung is reportedly testing the use a super-thin layer of glass to protect the display of its next foldable. This layer is just 3 percent of the thickness of conventional cover glass normally used on phones. It remains to be seen how this layer will hold up to normal wear and tear. The plastic-based protection of the Galaxy Fold proved inadequate in early reviews, forcing a highly embarrassing “recall” and a delay in the availability of the Fold.

If the details in this report are accurate, the new device would have a massive advantage over the Galaxy Fold – familiarity. Not only it would unfold into the widely used 18:9 form factor, it would also capitalize on nostalgia for the clamshell designs of the 90’s and 2000’s. It’s no accident that Motorola is also said to be working on rejuvenating the clamshell factor with a foldable reincarnation of the iconic Razr V3.

Samsung will host a press event at IFA this Thursday, but we don’t expect it to announce or even tease this new foldable. Instead, the Galaxy Fold will probably get a second official launch, ahead its public availability later this month.

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